Bruxism is when you unconsciously clench your teeth very hard, sometimes harder than you are capable of doing consciously. There are two main types of bruxism: diurnal bruxism (teeth clenching while awake) and sleep bruxism (teeth clenching while asleep). Both types can affect and be affected by your dentures.

Bruxism Is Hard on Dentures

Bruxism brings your teeth together very hard. This puts excessive stress on a denture, often much more stress than the denture is designed to handle. If you have diurnal bruxism, it’s likely that you will go through dentures much faster than someone without bruxism, and you may either wear your dentures down or cause them to break.

Even sleep bruxism can be hard on dentures, though it occurs when your dentures are out. Sleep bruxism can cause your gums to press together so hard that it leads to rapid resorption (bone loss). It can also cause an imbalance in your jaw muscles that leads to poor denture fit and/or uneven wear on your dentures.

Dentures Can Contribute to Bruxism

There are many potential causes of bruxism, including stress and a bad bite. When dentures are poorly fitted, it can contribute to a bad bite, which puts your muscles out of balance, which may cause them to contract very hard to attempt to achieve balance again, putting stress on the dentures and causing them to break or wear down.

It’s also possible that the lack of teeth at night is causing a similar effect. Your body is accustomed to having teeth to brace the jaws, so their absence often leads to dysfunction. Fortunately, this can be treated.

Treating Bruxism with Dentures

One of the ways you can reduce or eliminate bruxism as a denture wearer is to get a set of neuromuscular dentures. These dentures are designed with your body’s muscles in mind, and are better than regular dentures at achieving a balanced bite, which means a lower risk of bruxism.

If you have a problem with sleep bruxism, it may be necessary to have an oral appliance made that can help hold your jaw in the ideal position during sleep so you don’t clench. Other times, an implant denture may be recommended because it can be permanent, allowing your jaw to stay in the proper position all the time.
In rare occasions where bruxism cannot be eliminated, you may just need reinforced dentures to stand up under the forces.

Would you like to learn whether better dentures can reduce or eliminate your bruxism? Please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.